A/N: I want to thank everyone for reading and reviewing my story. I've enjoyed writing this story. There will be a sequel in the works.
Later that night Jason sat in his wheelchair next to Spinelli's hospital bed watching his son sleep. He had so much on his mind at the moment. Jason never thought he would have children because the world he lived in was too dangerous for that. He had acquiesced to Elizabeth's wishes and let Lucky raise his son, Jake. But now that he knew that Spinelli was his son it seemed like all of the options were open for him again. He might have missed the formative years of Spinelli's life but he could be a father to him now. But Jason looked at the monitors tracking Spinelli's heart rate and oxygen level. And despite the warm feelings he was experiencing knowing that he had a son...reality loomed large in the room. Spinelli was in this bed because of the life that Jason led. He had put his son in danger and nearly cost him his life. And if people started to find out that Spinelli was his son he'd be in even more danger. The selfish part of Jason wanted the world to know that Damian Spinelli was his son. But the fear that was building in his chest quelled the urge to tell anyone. Lately, he found himself thinking about the choices he had made for himself. He found himself thinking about all of the sacrifices he'd made for the life he was living. He wondered if being a father to Spinelli would have to be one of those sacrifices.
Spinelli awoke from his nap. It seemed to him that he spent the majority of his time sleeping. The doctors assured him that it was perfectly normal to sleep this much. Spinelli was still pale and weak. Recovering from being shot and liver surgery was no small feat. He glanced over and smiled seeing Jason parked next to his bed. "Father...I thought nurse Epiphany said that you couldn't come visit me again tonight?" asked Spinelli. "Father sounds too formal doesn't it?" asked Spinelli. He had been trying different ways to address Jason all day, so far none of the options seemed right.
Jason smiled and said "Epiphany's shift ended a couple of hours ago so I was able to convince another nurse to bring me in here. How are you feeling? Do you need me to call the nurses to get you anything?" Jason chuckled softly. "Father is a little too formal. I used to call Alan that...my sister Emily told me once it was a sign of emotional distance." There was something Jason liked about the joy he saw in Spinelli's face when he called Jason, father.
Spinelli shook his head and said "I am fine...I can use my pain clicker if I start to hurt. This thing is like my new best friend." Spinelli had the clicker clutched in his left hand. Spinelli rested his head against his pillows. "That is what I thought...father is too formal. What about dad?" asked Spinelli.
Jason smiled and said "Dad...sounds good to me." Jason paused slightly. "I wanted to talk to you about that Spinelli. I know that you are excited about me being your father. And trust me I am excited too. But I was thinking maybe we should hold off on telling everyone the good news for awhile. I told Sam that I didn't want her telling anyone else." Earlier Jason and Sam had been involved in a very long conversation as he explained the situation to her.
The smile on Spinelli's face faded away. Spinelli shifted his gaze and stared up at the ceiling so that he wouldn't have to look his mentor...his father in the eyes. "Oh sure I understand. We don't have to tell anyone, Stone Cold."
Jason might not have always been adept at expressing his feelings but he was very good at reading other people and he heard the sadness and disappointment in his son's voice. Jason struggled to find the words to explain what he was feeling at the moment. "Spinelli..."
"I know that...I am not...what you would want in a son. I don't possess your physical prowess or tactical abilities. I talk too much and annoy you and Mr. Sir constantly. I waste my time with...insipid video games...I may share your genes but...I am not nothing like you...nothing to be proud of...even though I have tried very hard to mold myself in your image…to be like you. I have failed…"said Spinelli feeling tears wet the corners of his eyes.
Jason could hear Spinelli about to cry. Jason braced himself and stood up from the wheelchair. "Don't you ever say that. You are everything that I could want in a son, Damian. You are smarter than anyone I have ever met. You are compassionate and you care about people even if you don't know them. You are talented and creative beyond your years. I've never understand why you chose to be my apprentice and learn from me. I've never felt like I had very much to teach you. But I have been lucky to have you as a friend...and I am proud to have you as my son." said Jason.
"But...if all that is true then why do we have to keep my true parentage a secret. I want everyone to know that you are my father. There is no one in the world that I trust more than you. You took me in when I didn't have anyone. I've learned so much for you and Sam. I know that I'm not like Michael...but I could learn to make you proud too." said Spinelli.
"I don't want you to be like Michael. I love my nephew and I love you. You are both amazing young men for different reasons. And that doesn't make either of you better or worse. I don't want people to know that you are my son...not because I am ashamed of you but because I want to protect you. My enemies will use the people I love against me. Like Franco used Michael against me. Michael is still reeling from the trauma that Franco caused. You nearly died because the Balkan knew that you were close to me...if he knew that you were my son...surely he would have had Jerry Jacks put a bullet in your head, to somehow satisfy his blood lust." That thought terrified Jason.
Damian looked at Jason surprised at everything he had just said. "It seems to me...that people already know that I am pretty important to you. I'm a target either way...the only way to protect me would be to remove me from your life. Dad...I appreciate that you want to protect me. But I'm not a child...I am way past the age of making my own decisions. I've never had a father...and now that I finally do...I don't want to keep it a secret..."
Jason nodded slightly knowing that he wasn't going to be able to dissuade Spinelli. He had inherited Jason's stubbornness. Once Jason made a decision there was no changing his mind. He knew then that he'd do whatever was necessary to keep his son safe. Jason smirked a little. "I guess you will want to tell Maxie first?" asked Jason knowing that he still had a soft spot for the girl even though she was in another relationship. "This also means that we will have to tell Monica and Edward. And Edward will try to smother you...but if this is what you want then...we will make it happen." Jason had a seat in his wheelchair.
"I will…tell the fair Maximista soon…she has been coming to visit me often but alas only as a trusted friend. Her heart belongs to another now…" Spinelli smiled and said "I guess that is right...I am a Quartermaine now. This would make a good book. A young P.I. solves a case and finds out that the man that taught him everything he knows is actually his father..." Spinelli smiled giddily. "I can't wait to start writing again with Diane."
Jason shook his head. "What did I tell you about me being in your books? I get first review and I get to reject any material I don't want in the book."
"But...but...I just want the world to see Stone Cold the way I do. What exactly do fathers and sons do together?" asked Spinelli. It had just occurred to him that he didn't really know.
Jason said "Well, I didn't really have a good relationship with Alan so I don't know...but I've watched Sonny be a father to Michael, Kristina, and Morgan. And he's been a like a father to me...I could always teach you how to cook...that is something that Sonny taught me. I can teach you about fishing...Sonny taught me that too."
"You could teach me how to ride a motorcycle too!" said Spinelli excitedly.
Jason frowned getting a worried paternal look on his face. He often worried about Spinelli on his scooter let alone a motorcycle. "I'll teach you something else...a boat...I'll teach you how to sail..."